C. elegans NMJs form en passant at discrete regions along the axon between selective nerve processes and muscles (Figure 3.1C)2. The muscles extend specialized arms to meet the presynaptic axon. NMJs use several types of neurotransmitters, including y-amino butyric acid (GABA), acetylcholine (ACh), and serotonin. GABA and ACh receptors are clustered in postsynaptic sites of body wall muscles. The localization of serotonin receptors is not yet known. Typical clear SV (35-45 nm) and large-dense core vesicles (LDCV) (40-53 nm) are found at the presynaptic terminal. The size of axonal swellings, the number of SVs, and the size of the presynaptic density define the size of the presynaptic region. The presynaptic region can vary considerably, even among the same types of synapses or among synapses from the same neuron. The presynaptic density in worms is relatively small and does not have elaborate ultrastructural characteristics. The postsynaptic site has no visible density. The cholinergic NMJ synapses on to both muscle and neuron, whereas the GABAergic NMJ synapses only on to muscle (Figure 3.1C).
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